Malloy administration considered “restraining order” to stop FOI requests?

In what may be the single most bizarre development yet in the Malloy administration’s war on teachers and public education and their ongoing commitment to secrecy, a recent Freedom of Information request has produced an email between Governor Malloy’s Director of Communications and a senior official from ConnCAN, the charter school advocacy group, in which they discuss what appears to be the Malloy’s administration’s effort to get a restraining order to prevent FOI requests about Malloy’s education reform efforts.

In the email to Governor Malloy’s Director of Communications, ConnCAN’s Jordan Fenster wrote,


Just following up on our conversation today. Any info you may have on a restraining order of any kind against Jon Pelto, (requested by the administration) would be great. It may have something to do with SDE, considering all the FOI requests and negative press he’s been throwing in that direction. 

My cell number, if you lost it, is XXX-XXX-XXXX.



The email is dated April 23, 2013, which coincides with a series of Wait, What? posts about the $35,500 public opinion poll that ConnCAN conducted to help make Malloy’s education reform initiative appear more popular.

It was also the time-period in which Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, was engaged in his extended effort to help Paul Vallas circumvent Connecticut law so that Vallas could remain as head of Bridgeport’s School System.

While getting “negative press” may be annoying to politicians, the notion that Governor Malloy’s administration would consider pursuing a “restraining order” to prevent Freedom of Information requests is extremely disturbing considering the fundamental right that citizens have to get access to public information.

Even the notion that government officials would consider corrupting the legal system to quell political opposition is chilling.

Interestingly, the disk of emails that was released by Malloy’s office as a result of the recent FOI request does not contain any other communication that mentions a possible “restraining order” against me or the Wait, What? blog.

However, an FOI request that was submitted to Commission Pryor and the State Department of Education on the same subject remains unanswered.

ConnCAN is the charter school lobbying group that led the record-breaking $6 million lobbying and public relations effort in support of Malloy’s education reform initiative.

Jordan Fenster is the senior writer and editor for ConnCAN.  Before he worked for ConnCAN, Fenster worked as the political reporter for the New Haven Register.

  • Sleepless in Bridgeport

    Reminds me…….what has ever become of Stevie Wonder Perry? It looks like the Hartford BOE told him to shut the hell up and pretend to be an edcator while Stevie Wonder Pryor and Danny boy awarded his “Management” company a piece of Bridgeport. And his new partner in crime? None other then Holy Moly. What ever happend to the separation of church and state? What ever happened to conflict of interest? Whatever happened to honesty in government? What ever happend to Holy’s humongeous debt…..sorry I forgot. It is probably hidden in Molloy’s save the state program. Interesting to see in light of Malloy’s “new ” budget announcements if Pryor’s Charter School corruption will continue to divert badly needed public funds for education to his designated educrooks?

    • buygoldandprosper

      Pastor Moales is quietly shopping for a new Cadillac.
      OJ Perry is counting his money.
      Strap up Connecticut! There will be financial injuries!

    • speaking up

      It will be very interesting to see if the 2 additional State Charter schools (Dr. Steve Perry’s Harbor Prep in Bridgeport and the Stamford Charter School for Excellence) will receive State funding.

      I heard suggestions that Dr. Steve Perry’s school could not possibly be approved because it would be “political suicide” for Malloy to allow it. Politics may make strange bedfellows, but Dr. Steve Perry is exceptionally outspoken and blatant in his contempt for rules, laws and professional, ethical behaviors.

      Dr. Steve Perry’s school was approved.
      Silence on funding questions/issues concerns me.
      Are condolences in order?

      For whom?

      • WEP

        “I heard suggestions that Dr. Steve Perry’s school could not possibly be
        approved because it would be “political suicide” for Malloy to allow it.”
        Let’s fulfill that prophecy.

  • mookalaboona

    All I can say is “unbelievable”. I think our only hope is “Pelto for Governor”

  • Michael Fryar

    Hahahahahahahaha. That is so absurd. And so frightening. It would have made fascinating press if they had actually applied for it. There is a clear lack if understanding for what a restraining order is and what it represents.

    • realsaramerica

      What’s particularly depressing about this to me is Jordan Fenster’s role in it. He WAS the press. For a member of the press to even be part of a conversation like this tells us so much about how ConnCAN wields its money and influence.

      • Michael Fryar

        I’ve given up on mainstream press. As with so many other careers, people are more concerned with keeping their jobs than doing them. So when opportunity arises they sell out to a higher bidder for perceived security. But that just means a new set of paranoiacs and compromises to keep paycheck a coming.

        • Sleepless in Bridgeport

          Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper here on CNN. It is September 4, 2035. Again today no sign of flight 370, but we did find Amelia Earhart. Oh……former Governor Dannel Malloy and his associate former Education Commissar, Stephan Pryor were just released from jail ending their sentence for being incompetent morons.

        • jonpelto

          Lmao – comment of the month! Award in the mail….

      • brutus2011

        Yes, the press and the marketplace of ideas is so important to our society and republic, at least historically speaking.

        Folks, we are all in deep doo-doo…the phrase, “money talks and b.s. walks” has become “money talks and b.s. is now truth.”


      • JMC

        Exactly, Sarah.

      • Guest

        As I stated yesterday, just follow the money to the promised land.

      • AAA

        Hiring their most critical reporter for p.r. work is the m.o. for the reform movement or any organization who doesn’t want the probing. I’m curious if Fenster was a good reporter or not.

        • newhavenpublic

          New Haven schools are rapidly going private thanks to an infusion of money and “think tank” support from Eli Broad, Bill Gates, Walton Family, Yale University’s School of Management and well-concealed others. New Haven’s Director of Communication is a former news reporter who changed sides. They hide well, and are getting more and more secretive. This week they filled a new position “Chief Financial Officer” with an Eli Broad-trained man (Victor De La Paz) who worked in Hartford 2008-2010. He joins the Eli-Broad trained (non educator) Superintendent Garth Harries who was appointed last summer. They also just hired a “Talent Director” who is going to oversee the “Human Capital Management System”. Watch New Haven. They are flying under everyone’s radar, and the set up for the destruction of New Haven public schools is nearly complete. It’s going to be breathtaking. It’s being missed. (Help!)

        • ReTired

          And then there’s their new mayor-Toni? Wonder how she fits into this mix? And their superintendent? Several months ago, someone was questioning his certification credential. Wonder where that is now?

        • newhavenpublic

          New Haven Mayor Toni Harp appears to be singing the school reform song. No dissent. Capitulation. I have not heard about certification problems for Supt. Garth Harries. He is far too clever and cunning to allow that to happen. His pedigree is Exeter, Yale undergrad, Stanford Law. McKinsey Consulting, Eli Broad Urban Leadership Academy, Joel Klein’s NYC Schools, now New Haven. Harries is digesting the union. He is a shining star in the corporate reform movement. People know better than cross him. He’s got all the private equity he could want. Watch New Haven.

        • Mary Gallucci

          The New Haven story warrants some serious attention. It is truly becoming a mini-Philadelphia, Louisiana Recovery district, or Chicago in the scale of outside interventions and the speed with which charters are gobbling up the public schools. It’s too bad that in New Haven there are no Carmen Lopezes and the kinds of alert, concerned citizens and parents who helped to oust Paul Vallas… New Haven public schools must become public again.

        • newhavenpublic

          Thank you Mary. People are slowly realizing how far the corporate reformers of New Haven have advanced their agenda. Teachers are scared and/or bought off with “incentive fund” merit pay. Parents and community members are beginning to rise against them. They are working the reform playbook – rapid change and little oversight. They are masters, in every sense.

        • Sleepless in Bridgeport

          Human Capital = Slavery

        • Ken Krayeske

          Fenster broke the Wilson-Foley/Rowland payola scandal. He knew how to dig. This is disappointing at best, and sinister at worst. It probably falls somewhere in between. But jeez, Jordan, really? A restraining order for FOIA? Jon Pelto is doing the job you abdicated. He is definitely not Anthony Martin-Trigona.

        • AAA

          Curious how much ConnCan is paying him…I’m sorry how much ConnCan’s hedge fund backers are paying him until they no longer have use for him.

    • ReTired

      Restraining order, injunction? Next we’ll learn that some of his appointees on the bench will affirm his right to block not only freedom of information, but freedom of speech? Immoral, unbelievable, uncanny, and a host of other adjectives define this man.

  • Striking

    This is a stunning development. The Malloy administration already whores out the very concept – to take it to this level is remarkable. The more I look him, the more I see the soul of Nixon in his eyes. I’m really disgusted.

  • buygoldandprosper

    As Dan is revealed, almost daily, as the Clown Prince of Connecticut, he becomes more desperate. He will claim more meaningless awards, like today in DC, to crow about on the campaign trail but the daily work for the citizens is Malloy as usual, for instance:

    “Michael Kozlowski will start Friday as director of public relations and marketing at the state Board of Regents for Higher Education.
    Kozlowski was the former budget director in Office of Policy and Management under ex-Gov. John Rowland and served in the past as as commissioner of the state Department of Labor.
    He’s the third person media relations director with the Regents since 2012”.

    • guest

      Nice. In the entire state of CT they couldn’t locate someone with marketing experience?

      • buygoldandprosper

        Gotta kiss Dan’s ring…pay-to-play, Malloy/Rowland style.

        • ReTired

          Naw, they’re just reaching out “across the aisle” and doing a bi-partisan jig! What an embarrassment saying I live in CT!

  • ruswalsh

    You know you are getting to them when they start talking restraining order. Next they can go after free speech with a restraining order. Keep up the great work Jonathan and stay on their tail.

  • buygoldandprosper

    What do you expect of a man like Dan Malloy, who thinks nothing of lowering the bar to further his political “visions”…

    –Cathy Malloy, former restaurant manager, now GHAC almost $200K per year head (thanks Earl O’Garro!) making silly videos.

    –One of Dan’s spawn snagging “internships” with Global Strategies and FIVE MILE CAPITAL…recall Five Mile founder Gary F. Holloway,as a member of the BoR and all the fine work they did with Dan’s appointment, Robert Kennedy, passing out raises?? Gee, no quid pro quo there!

    I think fondly of that mess, that Jon Pelto helped expose…

    “Bob is the right person to help lead us in this new direction,” said Governor
    Malloy. “As someone with classroom and administrative experience at a number of
    institutions of higher education, I know that he understands that our resources
    need to be focused on the students who attend these schools and the preparation
    they need for the global economy in which they will compete.”

    Pay to Play with Malloy is very personal, indeed. No wonder Corrupticut is rife with fraudsters…monkey see, monkey do!

  • Mary Gallucci

    Stefan Pryor clearly believes he is above the law, and, so far, the law–and the legislators– are prone before his feet….the better to be trampled upon. This is just one example writ large of what happens when public institutions–and that means schools–are privatized. Problem is, Pryor wants the whole shebang–his State Department of Education, complete with its woefully outdated directory (maybe that’s part of his devious strategy–citizens will send FOI requests to employees canned long ago…), is like a private-sector entity, and therefore beyond the reach of the freedom of information regs.
    Are charter schools exempt from FOI?
    Is ConnCAN exempt?
    As for Malloy–I can’t begin to express my outrage. How he manages to splash around in so much hot water without a hot tub scandal defies comprehension.

  • jrp1900

    When you can’t win the debate, you have to suppress information. When you suppress information, you murder freedom. When you murder freedom….
    And the people who would murder freedom are the same people who are bringing us school reform, “the civil rights issue of our time.”
    Yeah, right! It’s obvious that these people don’t care about civil rights or oppressed people. For them, it’s all about money and power…

  • Rafael G

    Its disgusting to the infinite power. To get a restriction order to restrict freedom of information is so wrong it sounds illegal, immoral, unconstitutional and flat out deceitful. But it shows clearly they wish they could limit what you say. I love how you made it clear Malloys claim of a surplus was smoke and mirrors weeks ago and today the courant even saw that he wasnt going to live up to his promises! Pelto for governor!